You may have seen the winding, vertigo inducing Hai Van Pass on an episode of a popular BBC car program back in 2008. The bumbling hosts (one of whom in particular shall remain nameless because he punched his producer in the face, and that is not cool.) hopped on mopeds and traversed the 21km mountain pass between Da Nang and Hue. Whilst the high definition cameras captured the beauty of the lush green peaks and the road that courts the edge of the cliff giving way to the piercing blue of the sky and the sparkling sea, nothing can prepare you for that view in the ultimate HD of real life.
We chose to take an air conditioned taxi between the two cities- it was a two hour ride and 32 degrees outside. You may be sensing that we aren’t hardened backpackers, and you’d be right. We are 25 year old yuppies who like our comforts- but where is the harm in that? Every new experience is an adventure; why do you have to be sweating and choking back dust in order for it to be authentic? Our driver claimed he was the motorbike rider who guided the three TV presenters on their adventure years earlier; I suspect this is the Vietnamese equivalent of saying yours was the first coffee shop in Vienna, or the makers of the first ever croissant in Paris, or- where I’m from- Sir Tom Jones’s childhood neighbour in the Welsh valleys. I’m skeptical, but who knows?! Maybe he was!
We stopped at the top of the pass to explore the abandoned military post, another reminder of the turbulent history of this country, before continuing down the other side to the beautiful Lang Co Bay. As I ran onto the scalding hot beach I noticed something bizarre- the sand was squeaking! I’ve heard about this natural phenomenon, but it sure did take me by surprise! Are there any geologists out there that can explain it to me?
There’s something magical about the feeling of sand between your toes, don’t you think?
P.s. That’s a jellyfish sting on my right second toe. Apparently the seafood community had heard what we’d been feasting on and took it upon themselves to get back at me. It wasn’t like you see in the films, it just felt like I had brushed against a stinging nettle. And no, nobody had to wee on my foot, thankfully! :p